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February 5, 2009

Andrew Wright:The importance of awards

The chairman of the Eventia Awards Committee and managing director of events organiser FAB! argues that industry awards are a key marketing tool, and are more important than ever during a downturn.

I have been involved with awards events in the UK since the days of the Corporate Events Association when we were entertaining around 250 guests from our industry.  With the creation of Eventia in 2006 and as a current board member of the association, I have had the responsibility and honour of chairing the awards committee for both Eventia’s UK and International Awards.

Awards have always played a major role in generating recognition and status within our industry and many companies enter them regularly. Over the years that I have been involved, the standard of entries never ceases to amaze me and it seems to get better every year. It is fantastic to see new companies taking the awards seriously and putting an enormous amount of time, effort and thought into their entries. Their reward is, of course, the opportunity for success as one of the winners.

Crucial edge
In the present economic climate when competition for business is even greater, award wins are so much more important. Entering and winning or even being a runner-up will give a company that crucial edge over its competitors – it’s an especially valuable marketing tool when pitching for new clients. Even being placed as a finalist holds great weight when talking to clients, with of course the gold winners having the ultimate advantage.

I do think that it is an important point not to diminish the value of the other placings, as they do mean that the entrants stand out for excellence over and above the many other agencies and suppliers in the marketplace, as judged by their peers.

An awards celebration should be used as an opportunity to reward and motivate your staff by taking them along to the event, enabling them to enjoy the acclaim of being a winner or a finalist. Awards are also an excellent opportunity to entertain clients at high-profile industry events – seeing your company listed on the screen as a winner or finalist will add to their confidence in retaining your services for future events.

Celebrating the best

Eventia’s UK Awards grow year on year, and we are seeing new companies entering as they recognise the benefits of being nominated. Last November, we were privileged to have nearly 600 guests at The Troxy in Limehouse, London. I believe strongly that the awards should be showcasing new venues, new ideas and the best that our industry has to offer, and this is the strong and clear focus of our awards dinner.

The International Awards also have a great track record and have shown growth  year on year. We are looking forward to a superb night for the 2009 International Awards at Grosvenor House this evening.

There are many ways that awards can be supported: entering one or more of the award categories, sponsorship and supporting the event itself by attending, which not only offers a great evening of celebration and entertainment, but also provides superb opportunities to network with industry colleagues and many of the events industry’s leading players.

Marketing tool
In this difficult economic climate I urge you not to cut awards from your marketing budgets, as they are probably one of the most powerful marketing tools, and your participation will be seen as a positive move during 2009/10.

If you don’t believe me and then make an effort to talk to those who are attending the Eventia International Awards at Grosvenor House tonight. I am sure this will convince you of the benefits that will accrue from entering for the Eventia UK Awards in November 2009 and The Eventia International Awards 2010.

Andrew Wright is chairman of the Eventia Awards Committee and managing director of FAB!

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